Title: Crossed Wires
Author: Kalla
Words: 1661
Characters/Pairing: Reno/Rude
Rating: Strong R/Not-quite-NC-17 - lots of sex, but nothing explicit...yet.
Language. Sexual implications, sex, (with these two, it's usually inevitable...), Violence.. lots of that.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my game, just my words using Square/Square Enix/Squeenix, whatever-they're-called-now's characters.

Reno leaned back in his chair, his glass in his hand. "So then he grabs my ass an' pulls me close. I figure by now he didn' know the difference 'tween me an' th' whore he ordered. Don' think it mattered to'm that I had a cock 'n not a cunt. Her certainly seemed t' like taking 'is whores up the ass." He leaned forward again, took a drink from his glass and set it down. "From there it was easy t' get info out 'f him."

"What about your boyfriend?" I asked. "What does -he- think about you doing this?"

Reno snorted. "He has no idea what I do an' he don't care either. He's more worried about whether 'r not I'll be in the mood when I get t' his place."

I shrugged at that, and picked at my salad. "Are you?"

Reno shot me a look as he pointed a pub fry at me. "When am I -not-?"

I let one corner of my mouth turn up at that, shaking my head at him.

It wasn't uncommon, the two of us out to dinner like this. We did it at least once a week, if not more. The places we haunted bordered on pub/diner, and the kind of place like President Shinra were expected to be. Not high-class, but not low-class, but not -quite- middle-class either; kind of like "high-class dives" you might say.

That night, we were at Touch Ten, one of the higher-class places in Upper Four, not far from Tarx Headquarters, but not far from the apartments we maintained.

Granted, we didn't always live in those apartments, as we were quartered at Headquarters. But it's no like we can bring someone home to Headquarters or bring a possible spy home to probe if all we had were those quarters. Anonymity is important to the Tarx, after all.

Once we were through with dinner, and Reno and I both had at least a healthy buzz going, we took to the streets, heading back to Headquarters. With unspoken agreement, we found our way to my suite, where he spilled the information he got from his most recent "client". Once Tseng got hold of the report, he would be pleased, that was for sure.

We degenerated into talking, about our colleagues, about the office, about nothing at all, and about ourselves. After we had more than a buzz going, it was only too easy - one of the reasons we were drinking buddies as well as good friends. We trusted each other, in the field, out of the field, and any other time. We had each other's backs, no questions asked, at any time.

"Bu' really, I think 'e likes i' wh'n I top. 'E likes 't hard 'n' rough, but 'm not 's down wi' it." His words slurred together so badly now that I was surprised I understood him. Then again, in my own buzzed state, I guess they made sense to me.



"D'you ever think 'f me like that?" I barely realized the words were out of my mouth before I regretted them. He looked at me for a minute.

"'ve called 'm Rude once, man. Oth's too." The words were hesitant, but I could tell they were also truthful.

I was stunned. But I let it slide. I shifted a little closer to him on the couch, and resisted the urge to move close enough to kiss him. Instead I murmured to him, "What's i' feel 'ike?" I looked at him for a moment, then continued, slowly, forming my words with more care, and feeling almost sobered by his admission. "Show me. Touch me like you touch them, an' they touch you."

He looked at me. His eyes, like chips of materia, flared as they met mine. His hands lifted and he stood. I looked up at him, thinking I'd scared him or just on the basis of what I said, went too far. But he smiled at me, and stepped around to run his hands over my back, over my shoulders, and up along the back of my neck. He leaned down from behind me and murmured in my ear, "Later." And then his touch was gone.

"See ya in th' mornin' Rude!" he called as he let himself out.

I blinked.

… What did I …?


I didn't mention what happened the next day. I planned to let it drop into the books of things we've done or said while drunk, and figured that's where it would stay.

But for the next week following, I had to wonder if that's where it -should- stay.

Why did I ask? What in Ifrit's name possessed me? I knew he had a boyfriend. He was off limits. Taken, unavailable, take your pick. I shook my head, trying to ignore the little nagging voice that called me an idiot. I was drunk, and well, we all do stupid things when we're drunk. It's part of the charm of the act.

It plagued me up until I walked into the office we shared the next morning. He was there before me, already at his desk, something highly unusual. Usually, I had at least enough time to settle down with my second cup of coffee before he walked in. I wondered if I was later than normal, but a glance at the clock told me I was on time. I stepped into the office, wondering if he was going to mention the previous night. One look at him told me he wasn't going to say a thing. He was drowning in a folder that was at least an inch thick, his brows knitted together in a way that said he really didn't like what he was reading, his mouth set in anger.

I looked at him for a moment as I paused in the doorway. He looked up, and nodded at my desk, across the office from his. "We've got a job tonight," he said, shortly. I looked at my desk, noticing a file, like the one he was reading, sitting on my blotter. I sighed internally, set down my mug, settled into my chair and opened the folder.

I knew at once why his face held the expression it did.

For once, it wasn't AVALANCHE. But it wasn't far off. Another group, a copy-cat group, was picking off SOLDIER patrols all over the city, but instead of doing it just to get them out of the way, they were doing it to attack civilians, rob the shops in the area, and were stripping the guards and civilians alike of clothing, possessions, weaponry, everything. They left nothing but naked bodies in the streets.

At first, I remembered that there had been one or two of these, usually in the slums, and they were dismissed.

This time, they had attacked Upper Four, not four blocks from where Reno and I had been. The damage done was across a span of six blocks over, and all the way up to the center, a block from the Shinra Tower.

One hundred and five people, dead. Naked in the streets, in the shops, in their beds; bodies slashed open in the worst of ways, left bleeding.

No survivors.

I growled softly as I flipped through report after report, profile after profile, feeling the rage rise. Yes, we were killers, but we were killers with -cause- at least. Right or wrong, we worked with precision, for a purpose.

This... While it had reason and purpose, both were…

I looked up at Reno, whose eyes were now glowing with suppressed anger. I frowned and continued to read.

This was messy work. This was something we wouldn't do. Assassination, sure. One shot to someone who was a threat to the President, to Rufus, to a higher executive. Kidnapping? Anytime. Espionage? Gladly. Demolition? Oh, yes.

Slaughter of civilians who have nothing to do with our target, who were just going about their business? Oh HELL no. Killers, sure, but even we had -some- morality. We did protect citizens of the city, on occasion, if we weren't busy elsewhere.

Our mission? To track down these people, their leader, and dispose of them how we saw fit. It was just Reno and me, going in with minimal backup. Tseng would brief us more fully once we had finished the outlines.

I looked up at Reno, who was closing the folder, his eyes smoldering still. He nodded his head, and I got up, closing the folder on my desk.

Tseng was waiting for us. This was our show, but he was our bloodline back to HQ, the one able to track us, and get us out if they could, the one to cut the connections, the one to make sure that if we didn't make it back, we never existed.

"I take it you have read everything?" Tseng asked as we settled into the chairs he nodded us into. We both nodded, and I was a little surprised to find that Reno was silent. His jaw was set in an expression of both anger and disgust. "Good. We know too little about this group to predict where they're going to attack next, but they seem to prefer the larger shopping districts. The one in Four will likely not be hit again for a while, considering it now has triple the security while the bodies are being cleared.

"You may want to start in Eight; the theatre area is as good a place to start as any, and so far, Eight is the only sector that has not been attacked in any way."

"Could that be 'cuz'a th' Shinra Building is right there an' there're always a zillion guards?" Reno quipped, softly, the only joke I heard him crack that morning.

I only nodded at Tseng.

"Rest up. You two are to be at the theatre entrance at 21:00. Dismissed."